In June 2004 the Ministry of Transport produced a request for proposals from suitably qualified consultants to manage and undertake a pilot vehicle emissions testing regime. The project was intended to 'assess the emissions performance of New Zealand's vehicle fleet and the likely impact of emissions screening on motor vehicle users and the environment.'

The proposal from Andrew Campbell of Fuel Technology Ltd and Energy and Fuels Research Unit of Auckland UniServices Ltd was accepted. The project was initially to be completed by December 2004. However, the consultants reported that they had experienced considerable practical difficulties carrying out testing for the project and completion was delayed.

A draft report was received in March 2005. Its findings included that emissions testing was unlikely to be effective in reducing harmful emissions from New Zealand's vehicle fleet because the proposed tests would not adequately identify high on-road emitting vehicles. This finding was an important consideration when in June 2005 the government decided not to proceed with an in-service vehicle emission test as had previously been announced.

The March 2005 draft report was reviewed, both by Ministry of Transport staff and an international peer reviewer. As a result of that feedback it was decided to separate the work on the petrol vehicles from that on diesel vehicles and to report these separately. The final version of the Vehicle Emission Pilot Project for petrol vehicles was received by the Ministry of Transport in March 2006. The additional Vehicle Emissions Pilot Project - Diesel Vehicles was subsequently received by the Ministry of Transport in December 2006. Both reports incorporated feedback from the review process.

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